It’s not so long ago that “online security” meant keeping your PC or laptop safe from hackers and other IT security risks. That still applies, but today you’re also more likely to be accessing the Internet on the move on a smartphone or tablet, and are as likely to be using a dedicated app as a web browser. At home any number of devices might be connected to your wireless network, from your thermostat or lightning controls to a smart fridge. This digital evolution makes our daily lives easier … but also exposes us to ever greater IT security risks.
Five tips to help you tighten up your online security
- Online security starts with robust password practices. Change your passwords often, and don’t use the same password for multiple sites or services. You can make managing your passwords easier by using tools such as 1Password or LastPass, which generate strong, random passwords and securely store them for quick retrieval in web browsers and on mobile devices.
- Password security is equally important when it comes to the Internet of Things. Unsecure connected devices present one of the biggest IT security risks – and that’s because most users don’t bother to change the device’s default password set by the manufacturer. Any time you connect a new device to your home network, make sure you immediately change to a new, strong password.
- Your web browser’s address bar actually gives you information about the online security of any site you visit. Secure sites will begin with “https:” and should also be accompanied by a small green padlock icon. Be wary about using unsecured websites, particularly if you are conducting financial transactions or making a purchase.
- Keeping your PC or mobile device software up to date can be a pain, but failing to do so can result in IT security risks as hackers can easily exploit security vulnerabilities in outdated software. Most software can be set to download updates automatically, and this usually represents the most sensible approach to online security.
- Make sure your mobile devices are secured by – at the very least – a PIN, and preferably biometric authentication that allows you to unlock your device with your fingerprint. Having your phone or tablet stolen is bad enough in itself, but is worse when you consider the amount of personal information the thief might have access to if they can easily access the contents of the device.